His many enemies – foremost among them a former CIA Director who all but called for his execution – thought it was safe to write the political obituary of Donald Trump. Sure, they did. After all, in the incestuous environment of the Swamp, where the left, big media, and institutional Washington share the same tunnel vision, they were dripping with self-satisfaction. As usual, the politicians had done the latest deed, and their sycophants in the fourth estate had dutifully amplified every jot and tittle of one Trump-related outrage after another. They had just added another big notch to their belts with a TV show trial they were sure would fully and finally disqualify Donald Trump from serious consideration for another term in the White House.
And then came the raid.
Unless you are among those who believe this official incursion into the home of Donald Trump was strictly about the law and not politics, it must rate as arguably the most clumsy and counterproductive political maneuver in recent memory. The Democrats thought they were in the red zone, a yard or two away from the goal line, and then a fumble – and a turnover. Trump is now more popular than at any time since he vacated the Oval Office.
Is Donald Trump a Victim of Prosecution or Persecution?
Is Trump guilty of a crime? That has become almost beside the point because the lack of reliable information about the precise reasons presented by the Department of Justice for the raid at Mar-a-Lago has created and escalated growing – and purely speculative – narratives on the left and right. One side asserts that it was about time because Trump is certainly guilty of multiple crimes, while the other claims he’s simply a victim of political persecution. And without knowing the contents of the affidavit which led to the warrant which led to the raid, the vacuum of information is quickly filled by those who, as Simon and Garfunkel once intoned, hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.
But how do we explain a man labeled as irredeemably evil by the ruling class, who actually regains his popularity right after the nation’s preeminent law enforcement agency exercises the political nuclear option against him? Opening Pandora’s box by forcibly occupying the home of a former president and political enemy of the current administration managed to do what years of the left’s slanderous treatment of Trump could not. It brought even disaffected Republicans – and likely many independent voters – back into Trump’s corner.
Nevertheless, the forces of continuity, a polite term for the encrusted establishment, will say this country has already turned its back on the political revolution stoked by Donald Trump. They will argue that what Trump unleashed was so frightening to the average voter that even a political relic like Joe Biden could knock him off after one term. They will say his brand is irretrievably poisoned.
But what if the forces Trump has unleashed can no longer be silenced as they were before he entered the political arena? What if the millions who had given up on the system and came out of political hiding with the advent of Trump will not go quietly into the night and return to the darkness from whence the left believes they came? What if, even when Trump departs the stage, the substantive residue of his presidency remains all but permanently embedded in a system for so long insulated from the common man?
Put another way, what if those who have clung to power in Washington at all costs, as they fed at the trough of its intrinsic largesse, can no longer protect themselves from the barbarians at the gate?
Sure, if Trump rises again, they will rinse and repeat what they did the first time he dared to march into Washington, expecting to shake their booty. They will erect their own virtual border wall around their turf. They will impeach the vile intruder as many times as possible if he dares to scale the wall again. They will concoct another spectacular, long-running hoax to cripple his ability to act. And leftist sycophants in a profession formerly known as journalism will win Pulitzer Prizes for propping up their twisted fantasies.
If these people are so certain that Trump is evil, and more importantly, that the country agrees with them, why would they find it necessary to conduct a risky Soviet-style show trial – for a man supposedly so reviled after January 6, 2021, that the voters would never grant him four more years in the Oval Office anyway? Politicians do not invest political capital in fruitless or counter-productive endeavors, and they certainly knew that a one-sided trial with a highly orchestrated, predetermined outcome was likely to stir dissent and draw swift retribution. But they proceeded with the spectacle anyway, certain their allies in the media would dutifully report every alleged indiscretion by Trump – as if Americans had not already been consuming their anti-Trump screeds disguised as reporting, ad nauseam, for about, oh, the last seven years.
Still, they might have succeeded if they had not created a climate so noxious that the attorney general felt emboldened to conduct an unprecedented, Rubicon-crossing action against an enemy of the Biden administration.
All of this reflects the reality that Trump represents the greatest political transformation since the days of LBJ’s Great Society when Democrats turned from the party of segregation to the party of civil rights. In Trump’s case, the transformation was just as dramatic – for many reasons. First, because it achieved the seemingly impossible – turning the GOP into the party of the working class, a notion that would have been laughable before Trump mounted the stage. Second, this was a political transformation that, unlike the civil rights movement based around a cause, was forged by a single man – not unlike the groundbreaking presidency of FDR, who authored the greatest and most permanent expansion of the federal government in American history. Third, it pierced the seemingly impenetrable armor of the ruling class. And, oh yeah, he toppled three dynasties – Bush, Clinton, and now Cheney – and then there are those three Supreme Court justices he appointed, producing, likely for a generation, the most conservative high court in our lifetime.
Whether they call it merely an aberration or genuine transformation, historians of every stripe will record the Trump era as a pivotal period in American history. It was a presidency like no other, whether viewed as evil or enlightened, which tore down many assumptions. Will the country ever again concede the necessity to choose the “lesser of two evils” between uniparty establishment alternatives? Will the voters who were drawn out of the shadows by the 45th president ever willingly return to their shell, or be satisfied that no one outside the reviled establishment can make it to the top? Will the ruling elite ever again be able to silence the voices unleashed by Trump?
Whether you love him or hate him, whether he is prosecuted or not, and whether he wins again in 2024 or not, friends and enemies alike must now agree that Donald Trump’s entrance onto the political stage was not simply historic. It changed politics forever.